Bargaining Update – 9th Mediation Session

Letter from the President:

9th Mediation Session

On Wednesday, we had another long mediation session with the university, and once again, despite a significant move in the GTFF’s economic proposal, the university made no real movement on wages, fees, or health insurance. At this point, there is little reason to believe that they have any intention of moving significantly from their current proposals. 

The university administration has made it unequivocally clear that they are committed to forcing a regressive contract on GTFF that will result in significant damage to the livelihoods and health of GEs. GTFF members have been clear that this is not something we are willing to accept. The GTFF Bargaining Team will continue to negotiate with the university to try to reach a deal, but the situation does not look promising. UO seems to be driving us towards a strike.

  • Their proposal on health insurance remains a flat dollar amount and shows next to no movement. They’ve proposed a one-time increase of 3% to this past year’s contribution, with no additional increase for the next three years.Year-on-year premium increases average 7-8% per year. Under their proposal, they would expect members to make up the difference of over $2 million, forcing either drastic cuts to health insurance or incredible increases in premiums over the next three years.
  • Their current wage proposal (1.85% increases across the board each year) falls well below the increasing cost of living (about 2.5%), and ignores our demand to target minimum salaries, which enshrines increasing income inequality in our contract and disproportionately affects our most underpaid members. This is effectively a pay cut, and one that will only worsen when combined with rising healthcare costs.
  • The university remains committed to shifting money from fee coverage into salary in order to artificially inflate salary numbers for recruitment purposes and to distract from the cuts they’re proposing to healthcare. The money shifted into salaries will be taxable, meaning that GEs will lose income in the process. When the GTFF team explained our concerns about the UO’s proposed fee structure at their request, they ignored us entirely.
Although we have secured real, significant gains in important non-economic issues, it’s clear that the university is uninterested in providing economically for a fair and dignified standard of living for GEs

Our bargaining committee has proposed three different versions of cost containment for insurance based on the university’s concerns. Each of these three proposals have been, if not rejected, effectively ignored. Instead, their successive offers showcase their determination throughout this entire negotiation process to gut our health care and reduce GE take-home pay.  

The bargaining committee plans to respond to the UO’s economic package at our next mediation session, tentatively scheduled for Sept. 16. However, this isn’t the only way to respond to the university’s insulting offer. Stay updated, and get involved!

What You Can Do

The bargaining committee will continue to negotiate at the table for the best possible contract for our members. It’s more important than ever that we, the membership, provide them with the support they need outside the mediation room! 

We need to put pressure on the university in our actions, by connecting with community allies, and by continuing to stand with our fellow campus workers in SEIU, who are currently at impasse in their negotiations. We’re going to be having a lot of serious discussions about how to proceed from here, and it’ll take all of us working together!

In the meantime, here are some ways you can help:
  • Fill out this survey—let us know what you can help with!
  • Come to the Contract Action Team (CAT) meeting.
    • Monday, Sept. 9
    • 5:30-7:30pm
    • GTFF Office (609 E. 13th St.)
  • Submit your story about your GE experience to our GEs of UO social media campaign.
  • Talk to colleagues, community members, and others about bargaining—let everyone know what’s going on!
  • Write letters to the editor demanding UO offer GEs a fair contract (and ask others to do the same).
  • And as always—stay updated, and keep checking your email.

All Hands on Deck!

The university administration is fundamentally attacking our contract, our pay and benefits, and our union. This is shaping up to be the biggest fight in GTFF’s 40-year history, and we’re going to need all hands on deck.

It’s time to get involved and fight for the contract we deserve!
In Solidarity Forever,

Ellen Gillooly-Kress

President of the Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation

To learn more about our bargaining efforts, visit our website.

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